File Vault: Welcome move to whole disk encryption (WDE)

Posted on by Mike Evans

Up to now the OS X FileVault, which encrypts your home folder, has been inconvenient to use and almost no one has recommended it as a viable means of total security. It has been verily unloved. Now, however, it seems that OS X Lion, due this summer, will have a completely revamped FileVault which could transform the utility's perception and value. In Lion, Apple will upgrade FV to a whole-disk encryption (WDE) application that will secure the entire disk. I have long been a proponent of WDE and look forward to seeing what Apple can provide for free. For me, this will be one of the most exciting developments in Lion.

I own a licence for the commercial PGP whole-disk encryption system and have used it in the past to secure the entire disk of my MacBook Pro. In all honesty, I have never encountered a problem and PGP has worked well. But it has two snags. It is expensive, with an annual maintenance subscription; and currently it does not support the enhanced sleep facilities available on the new MacBook Airs. Since sleep and battery conservation is an important part of the Air's user experience, I wasn't willing to compromise by installing PGP on my new 11in mini.

From all accounts, the new Apple FileVault will do most, if not all, of what PGP can achieve and will be free. What's more, with the extensive Apple community, you are more likely to get support than from the business-orientated PGP Corporation. Provided you never forget your password or recovery keys, WDE is a total solution to the problem of losing a laptop with all its data. If Apple can make FileVault easy, intuitive and reliable, I'll be the first to sign up.

Source and further reading: AppleInsider

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